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Official says rain is nice, but more needed

October 31, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

While Don Schwartz is certainly grateful for the nearly 5 1/2 inches of rain that have fallen on Washington County in October, he is hoping for more storms that will bring even more rain this way.

"This is good but we're not recharging our ground water yet," said the University of Maryland agriculture extension agent based in Washington County.

Schwartz said the recent slow, soaking rainfall has been beneficial for drought-plagued Washington County, but is only about half the amount needed to saturate down to six feet of soil.

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"The figures show that 11.6 inches of rain would have to fall under certain circumstances to reach down that far," Schwartz said.

Those circumstances include no evaporation, no run-off, and no crops, grasses or trees to use up the water. "Most of those factors are in place at this time of year so we're heading in the right direction."

Schwartz said the Washington County Commissioners will be getting an update on the region's water situation at its Nov. 12 meeting.

A weather pattern moving east from the Pacific, to Texas where it picks up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is bringing rain into the Tri-State area. Schwartz said if those storms continue to follow that route, more rain will be coming.

The effects of the rainfall have been dramatic in area rivers and streams. According to the National Weather Service, the Potomac River has been experiencing some minor rises which will continue into early Thursday before they begin to drop back to normal.

The Wednesday river levels, a few projected Thursday river levels and the (flood stages) for several spots along the Potomac include:

Hancock - 4.5 feet, 7.5 feet, (30 feet)

Paw Paw, W.Va. - 8.3 feet, 9.8 feet, (25 feet)

Harpers Ferry, W.Va. - 2.9 feet (18 feet)

Williamsport - 2.4 feet and falling, (23)

Point of Rocks - 2.9 feet (16 feet)

Shepherdstown, W.Va. - 3 feet (15 feet)

The October total rainfall is 5.42 inches as of late Wednesday, bringing the 2002 rainfall total to 32.10 inches.

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